Construction industry pledges to hire more than 100,000 veterans

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

During A National Symposium: Veterans’ Employment in Construction, a February 9 gathering in Washington, D.C., First Lady Michelle Obama and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez celebrated a broad coalition of construction employers and associations that have collectively pledged to hire 100,000 veterans over the next five years.

“Today, more than 100 American construction companies came together to announce that they plan to hire more than 100,000 veterans within the next five years,” notes First Lady Obama in a Wall Street Journal editorial. “They made this commitment not just because it’s the patriotic thing to do, and not just because they want to repay our veterans for their service to our country, but because they know that it’s the smart thing to do for their business.” 

“All men and women who have sacrificed for our country in our armed services deserve opportunities for good jobs worthy of their character and their achievements,” adds Secretary Perez. “The Department of Labor will do whatever it takes to help our veterans translate their skills and leadership into jobs, and I am inspired by the commitment displayed today by the construction industry and all our partners in helping to achieve that mission.”

The construction industry is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years—outpacing the steady growth of the economy as a whole and helping to strengthen local communities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that construction is one of the fastest-growing industries in the nation, with job growth of more than 1.5 million jobs between now and 2022, at an annual growth rate of 2.6 percent.

The construction industry was represented at the announcement by executives of several participating companies, along with Larry L. Melton, project executive for Bechtel and Marine Corps veteran delivering remarks. “Veterans are invaluable to the construction industry. Men and women who serve in the military often have the traits that are so critical to our success: agility, discipline, integrity, and the drive to get the job done right,” Melton said. “Bechtel is passionate about supporting veterans and we continue to expand our efforts to hire transitioning military members.”